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Never mind But never mind Tom Petty and his Rebel without a clue, the Football Association of Wales is doing an extremely good impression of a rabble without a clue.

To the surprise of no-one who has been following the Porthmadoggate saga, the club's appeal against the conviction, fine and points deduction has been rejected. Given the rigged panel that was to hear the case, such a verdict was always on the cards.

However, in an absolutely magnanimous gesture, the Football Association of Wales has agreed to waive part of the fine - the part that was suspended, that it.

Meanwhile, as well as paying their own costs, the club has to pay £3,000 ($6,000) costs of the hearing.


Just to recap for the benefit of new readers, back in December 2006 a supporter shouted "who's the Paki with the flag?" at a linesman. The fan was immediately "restrained" by a couple of other supporters who marched him down to the club's offices. The club obliged him to apologise to the linesman, and then banned him from their ground.

Now leaving aside the question of why "who's the Paki with the flag?" is more offensive or racist than, say "who's the Scouser with the flag?" or "who's the Yankee with the flag?" (and in the early 1980s I knew a couple of gentlemen from the Muslim part of the Indian sub-continent who actually had a business called "Paki Property Investments" registered with Companies House), the fact is that it is very difficult to see how the club could have done any more.

You can't gag the supporters when they come into the ground - you have to reply on them behaving themselves. And if they don't behave, the measure of control you have is often reflected in the speed with which you react to the problem.

Quite often, in European football, an entire crowd can go on "racist chanting" for hours, if not days and weeks, and the clubs concerned do little about it. Here, in Porthmadog, thre was one isolated incident that was dealt with immediately, firmly, and decisively.

And if you read carefully the above, it was the fans themselves who reacted. Absolutely no question at all that the club had full control of their fans.


Porthmadog are, not surprisingly, furious about the whole affair. They are planning to appeal to an arbitrator.

But the FAW won't be losing any sleep. In the disgraceful state of affairs that is the jurisdiction of the FAW, Rule 27.3 of the FAW Constitution states that any arbitrator shall be selected by the Secretary General, David Collins.

We can all guess the outcome of the arbitration before we start, can't we? The FAW and Mr Collins are a total disgrace. You wouldn't believe that such a thing can happen in the 21st Century. Nevertheless, the club is launching an appeal for funds and quite rightly so. No-one should be put in the position that they have been.

And in other news, all clubs currently embroiled in promotion and relegation issues are packing off groups of fans to start racist chants on rivals' grounds with the aim of having them lose three points.

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page last modified 09:26 03/04/2007
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